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Travelling to the UK from abroad

If your journey isn't too great a distance, for example you are visiting from Europe, you might want to consider a variety of travel options. But if your journey is a long one, plane fares are now so competitive that in terms of speed, comfort and cost you should probably just look at flights.

Flying is the most obvious way to travel to the UK. Fares can vary dramatically so the best advice is to shop around and be flexible about dates and airlines. In particular students, young travellers and seniors should be able to get special deals and discounts.

Prices are generally a bit lower if you travel during the week. Peak season is from about May to October and this is when fares will be most pricey with the most expensive months from June to September. Fares will probably also be very high (and flights booked out in advance) over Christmas and New Year.

The busiest and most popular airports are Heathrow and Gatwick, both in London. But if you are not visiting London you might try some of the other airports in the UK which handle international flights, such as Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow. You could always travel to the UK by ship, for example you could choose a transatlantic crossing on a big cruise ship. This would mean that you arrive in the UK in style and without the hassle of jet lag, but any long distance journey by ship will be very lengthy and, of course, very expensive compared to flying.

Another way to get to the UK by water is to travel by ferry. Crossings are very extensive and are a great way to travel to the UK if you wish to bring your own car. Prices vary enormously as ferry fares can change according to time of year, time of day you want to travel and even the size of your car - so you will need to so some careful research to find a good price. And remember that during peak season you will need to book a place for your car in


advance.

If you are not travelling from too far away, you might want to consider other options.

For example you can travel to the UK by bus from many European cities, which is a great low cost option if you won't be travelling too far. However, flights are now priced so competitively that if your journey is a long one by coach, you will probably want to choose the comfort and speed of flying.

If you wish to travel by car, your biggest problem will be crossing the English Channel. There are a variety of ways to do this, for example ferry and now the Channel Tunnel. All have regular services, normally with several crossings each day, so shop around and choose the one that suits you best...

There are also some SeaCat services that cross the Channel between Dover and Calais. These are very quick and can do the journey in less than an hour, cutting your travelling time considerably. They are also very competitively priced.

And of course, the Channel Tunnel now gives you even more options. Drivers can take Le Shuttle which is another very speedy way to cross the English Channel. It is also quite competitively priced, being comparable to ferry fares, and there are often discounts and special offers available.

Meanwhile, foot passengers can take Eurostar trains from Paris, Brussels or Lille to London. Again, prices can be very competitive with regular discounts and promotions.

Please note: If you are travelling by train, the rail system in the UK is quite independent from the rest of Europe and so some continental rail passes, for example Eurail, are not valid in Britain.

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